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 by Ben Taylor
, posted on 18 Jul '19

Study Abroad, for Free? 11 European Countries Where Masters Tuition is FREE (or Almost Free) in 2019-20

If you’ve read our previous blogs, you’ll know that we’re big fans of the idea of studying a Masters abroad. After all, learning a new language has all sorts of benefits, there are plenty of less well-known postgraduate destinations and the study abroad experience can often defy your expectations – in a good way!

Tuition fees are another big factor for many prospective international students, which is why we’ve dedicated this post to showcasing some of the European countries where you can study for free (or almost free) in 2019-20.

Before we start, a word or two on Brexit. Even though the UK is due to leave the EU on 31 October 2019, a proposed transition agreement means that current conditions should remain in place until at least the end of 2021.

As such, UK students will hopefully be able to live and study abroad as normal until then (and vice versa for EU students). Similarly, there are guarantees that fees and funding for EU students won’t change for UK courses beginning in 2019-20.

It’s worth bearing in mind that most (but not all) of the countries in this blog are free / cheap for EU nationals only. The exceptions to this rule are Norway, Iceland, Germany and the Czech Republic, who offer free tuition to all (with certain caveats). If you’re from the rest of the world, you’ll usually have to pay higher fees.

Please note: the information provided below only covers public universities. If you wish to study abroad at private institutions, it’s likely that fees will be charged.

Completely free

This section covers the European countries that charge absolutely no fees – tuition or administrative – to European nationals. Out of these, Norway and the Czech Republic are the only place that offer free tuition to people from the rest of the world.

Of course, these fees aren’t the only costs you’ll encounter if you study a Masters abroad. You’ll also have to think about accommodation, health insurance and other living costs. But it’s certainly a big positive not to worry about paying some hefty tuition fees.

Norway

Free for who: Everyone (EU, EEA and the rest of the world)

Admin fees: None

Terms: We’ve listed Norway first because it’s one of the only countries in Europe that doesn’t charge any fees to students, regardless of nationality. With some world-class universities and an enviable quality of life, Norway is an excellent postgraduate destination.

Find out more in our guide to Masters study in Norway or search for Norwegian Masters.

Denmark

Free for who: EU, EEA and Switzerland

Admin fees: None

Terms: Denmark offers free Masters to EU students, although people from the rest of the world will have to pay full tuition fees.

Whatever your nationality, you’ll be eligible for free Danish lessons – a pretty good way to settle into your new country!

Find out more in our guide to Masters study in Denmark or search for Danish Masters.

Finland

Free for who: EU, EEA and Switzerland

Admin fees: None

Terms: Unfortunately, Finnish universities no longer offer free Masters to all international students. As of 2017-18, only EU, EEA and Swiss nationals qualify for free study.

Find out more in our guide to Masters study in Finland or search for Finnish Masters.

Sweden

Free for who: EU, EEA and Switzerland

Admin fees: None

Terms: Like Denmark and Finland, Sweden operates a free tuition fee policy for domestic and EU students, but other international students will have to pay to study a Masters.

Find out more in our guide to Masters study in Sweden or search for Swedish Masters.

Poland

Free for who: EU, EEA and Switzerland

Admin fees: None

Terms: Polish universities offer free tuition to European nationals, making its historic universities a great choice for adventurous postgraduates.

Find out more in our guide to Masters study in Poland or search for Polish Masters.

Czech Republic

Free for who: Everyone (if you study in Czech!)

Admin fees: None

Terms: If you fancy learning Czech, you could take advantage of the Czech Republic’s generous approach to tuition fees: Czech-taught Masters are free to all. Masters in other languages – English, French, German and Russian are fairly common – usually (but not always) incur some fees.

Find out more in our guide to Masters study in the Czech Republic or search for Czech Masters.

Free-ish

There are several other European countries that don’t charge tuition fees, but do charge relatively small administrative fees to students.

Austria

Free for who: EU, EEA and Switzerland

Admin fees: €19.20 per semester

Terms: Austrian universities extend free study to European nationals. The only catch is that you’ll have to pay if don’t complete your programme within two semesters of the usual duration – in these cases you’ll be charged €363.63 per term.

Although students from the rest of the world do have to pay tuition fees, they’re still pretty low at €726.72 per semester.

Whatever your nationality, you’ll have to pay €19.20 per semester for student union membership (student health insurance is included in this administrative fee).

Find out more in our guide to Masters study in Austria or search for Austrian Masters.

Germany

Free for who: Everyone (except for universities in the state of Baden-Wuerttemburg)

Admin fees: Between €50 and €250 per semester

Terms: Public universities in 15 out of 16 German states charge no tuition fees, regardless of nationality. The exception to this rule is Baden-Wuerttemburg, which charges students from outside the EU €1,500 per semester.

You’ll also have to pay an administrative fee per semester. This varies from university to university, but will usually be between €50 and €250. The fee covers your registration and includes student union membership as well as a regional transport pass – pretty handy!

Find out more in our guide to Masters study in Germany or search for German Masters.

Iceland

Free for who: Everyone

Admin fees: €550 annual registration fee

Terms: Icelandic public universities don’t charge any tuition fees, no matter where you’re from. However, you will have to pay an annual registration fee of around €550.

Find out more in our guide to Masters study in Iceland or search for Icelandic Masters.

Pretty cheap

These countries do charge tuition fees, but they’re well worth considering if you’re looking for a cheap place to study abroad. That’s why we’ve given France and Belgium honourable mentions.

France

Typical tuition fees: €243 per year

Admin fees: €215 annual social security payment (not applicable if you have a European Health Insurance Card – EHIC)

Terms: Tuition fees at public universities in France are capped at €243 per year by the French Government, making them some of the most affordable in Europe. These low fees are only applicable to EU/EEA nationals. Non-EU/EEA nationals are charged €3,770 per year.

Please note that if you’re under 28 and don’t have an EHIC, you’ll have to pay an annual social security payment of €215. If you’re over 28, you’ll usually need to find private healthcare.

Find out more in our guide to Masters study in France or search for French Masters.

Belgium

Typical tuition fees: €900 per year

Terms: Universities in Belgium’s Dutch and French-speaking communities charge relatively low fees, at around €900 per year. If you’re looking for a multilingual, multicultural place to study, Belgium could be just the ticket.

Find out more in our guide to Masters study in Belgium or search for Belgian Masters.




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